PASCO COUNTY, Fla. - An 84-year-old man is in a critical care unit recovering from surgery after being mauled by two dogs that had gotten loose from their owner's yard.
Ernie Naylor has known his neighbor John Ashmore for close to 30 years. Naylor says Ashmore and his family were the first ones to welcome his mom, dad and himself to the neighborhood.
On Sunday morning, Naylor's quick thinking helped Ashmore escape a random dog attack. Ashmore went to get his paper when two boxer dogs mauled the Zephyrhills man.
Ernie Naylor heard his friend and neighbor's screams and ran to his aid. He said he beat the dogs off of his neighbor, but doesn't consider himself a hero.
"They would of done it for me hopefully," said Naylor.
On the other hand, The Pasco County Sheriff's Office disagrees.
"If these dogs would of continued their attack, this poor gentleman would of probably of been killed by them," said Sergant Steve Greiner.
Greiner says when a deputy responded to the call, the dogs turned on him.
"The dogs attempted to attack the deputy. The deputy shot both dogs and killed them," said Sergant Greiner.
Neighbors in the area say they never thought of the dogs as vicious, but they say the dogs did escape from their fence frequently.
One neighbor said the dogs turned on her before going after Ashmore.
"I went out to take the garbage out and they came charging at me, I mean barking and growling, so I took myself back in the house."
Ashmore was transported to Lakeland Regional Hospital and underwent surgery. He is in critical but stable condition.
The owner of the dogs faces felony charges.